Dr Munyurangabo Benda

Job TitleTutor, Centre for Black Theology


I am a Tutor with the Centre for Black Theology (CBT) since January 2023, where I have the privilege of teaching and learning alongside dedicated colleagues and inspiring students in Womanist and Black theological studies. I was particularly attracted to Queen’s by the prospect of working with postgraduate students, supporting them in their studies and exploration of the possibility of doctoral study in Womanist and Black Theology.

I did not set out to be a Theologian! From a young age, I was interested in what holds human societies together in harmony. My ambition was to study Law and become a politician, preferably working in Diplomacy. These ambitions were put to the test when the genocide against the Tutsi broke out in Rwanda before I finished my studies in Law. Having completed my legal training, it became very clear to me that law could not provide an interpretive framework for a phenomenon as life defining as genocide. So, I turned to God and Theology to ask what a person seeking to do right ought to do when the foundations of law and order have been shattered (Psalm 11:3-4). I started my theological studies at the Nazarene Theological College in Manchester (2004-2007) and was captivated by Black Theology when I was introduced to James Cone’s insistence on the importance of experience as source for theological investigations. It was the first discipline to provide me with a clear framework to make sense of the phenomenon of suffering and death of black bodies experienced as witness/survivor of genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Having completed my BA(Hons), I joined the University of Manchester to study for a master’s degree in theology and political Life. I was particularly interested in the possibilities offered by faith-based diplomacy in African identity-based conflicts. My dissertation focused on the role of Rwandan churches in post-genocide reconciliation; having been largely ineffective and silent during the massacres. Having successfully completed my masters, I started a PhD in the University of Manchester under the supervision of Prof. Graham Ward and Dr Michael Hoelzl. My thesis used postcolonial analysis to critically compare the agency of Muslim and Christian communities in the genocide of 1994.

My current research interests in Theology revolve around the various intersections between active/practical faith and the public/political sphere.

2002: Licence en Droit with Kigali Independent University

2007: BA (Hons) In Religions and Theology, Nazarene Theological College/University of Manchester

2008: MA in Religions and Theology, University of Manchester

2013: PhD in Religions and Theology, University of Manchester

Roles at Queen’s
I am a Tutor with the Centre for Black Theology. My main role is to support different cohorts of postgraduate students in their studies and exploration of doctoral study. So far, I have been involved in the coordination and delivery of various modules on CBT’s MA Course in Theology and Transformative Practice.

  • QFM703: Black Transformative Ministry (CBT Taster’s module)
  • QFM707: Preparing for MA Dissertation
  • QFM711: Worship, Preaching & Pastoral Care in a Diverse Church
  • QFM713: Contextual Theologies: disciplines, practices and methods
    QFM715 : Independent Study
Research Interests and Supervision
My doctoral research was understandably interdisciplinary, a trend that has persisted in my postdoctoral research interests.

I am interested in Public and Political theologies, Reconciliation and Peace studies, Postcolonial dynamics in African State modernity, Moral Philosophy , post-conflict reconstruction theories, genocide studies, memory studies, Transitional temporalities, and of course Black Theology focused on the phenomenon of ‘Global Blackness’.

I am keen to supervise masters’ dissertations and PhD theses in the areas of

  • Black and Womanist theologies
  • Postcolonial theologies
  • Moral Philosophy/Theology/ Christian Ethics
  • Conflict, Reconciliation, community transformation
    Queer theologies
-‘Faith-based Diplomacy, a window of opportunity for the development of an African Political Theology’. In Didache: Faithful Teaching, Volume 12 no 1 (Summer 2012)

– ‘Church, Humanitarianism and Genocide in Rwanda: Beyond Criticism and Apology’ in ODI (2016), Learning from the past to shape the future: lessons from the history of humanitarian action in Africa. https://www.odi.org/publications/10582-learning-past-shape-future-lessons-history-humanitarian-action-africa

Youth Connect Dialogue: Unwanted legacies, Responsibility and Nation-building in Rwanda. Aegis Trust. (2017). Online. https://www.genocideresearchhub.org.rw/document/youth-connekt-dialogue-unwanted-legacies-responsibility-and-nation-building-in-rwanda/

– ‘Time to hear the other side: transitional temporalities and transgenerational narratives in post-genocide Rwanda’ in Natascha Mueller-Hirth and Sandra Rios Oyola, eds. (2018), Time and Temporality in the Study of transitional post-conflict society. Oxford: Routledge.

– ‘Promising generations: From Intergenerational guilt to Ndi Umunyarwanda’ In Hannah Grayson and Nicki Hitchcott, eds. (2019), Rwanda After 1994: Stories of Change. Liverpool – Chicago. LUP (UK) & the University of Chicago Press (US).

– ‘The State as a parent: Reframing parent-child relations in Rwanda’. Co-authored with Kirrily Pells in Families, Relationships and Societies (special issue, 2020).

– Soteriology of Suffering: Evangelical Christians in Russia and the Trauma of Political Repression. Religions 2020, 11(11), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110591 Co-authored with A. Mitrofanova and S. Ryazanova

Academic Translation

– Keady, J., Klutz, T.; Strine C.A. (2018). Scripture as Social Discourse. Social-scientific perspective on Early Jewish and Christian Writings. Oxford. T&T Clark (Bloomsbury). Translation from French to English of essay 2, 7 & 10.

Unpublished research

– PhD thesis: ‘The Test of Faith: Christians and Muslims in the Rwandan Genocide’. Online. University of Manchester

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